Campaign updates on vote-casting day...
AT LEAST THEY SHOULDN'T TAKE LONG TO COUNT -- The first thing to look for tonight will be a pronounced lack of votes. The Field Poll is predicting 35 percent of registered voters and Paul Mitchell of the Redistricting Report, using modeling based on the return rate of mail-in ballots, is forecasting an even lower number, from 28 percent to 30 percent.
A turnout that low would probably spell trouble for the independent candidates running around the state, including Linda Parks in the 26th Congressional District. It will mean only the most engaged (also read as "most partisan") voters are casting ballots -- just as has happened in the past under mostly-closed party-nominating primaries.This statewide primary is very much like the one four years ago, when the presidential voting was done separately in February. There is no top-of-ticket competition and there are no hot-button ballot initiatives. Turnout then was 28 percent.
If turnout is in fact very low, some analysts are certain to argue that the top-two primary is a failure. If so, it will be a premature verdict. It will take several cycles for the message to sink into the electorate that the new primary empowers voters in ways in which they were previously unaccustomed. A few surprise results around the state might help make that point.
DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THE GENERAL -- Presidential elections typically attract a turnout of from 70 percent to 75 percent of registered voters. What that likely means is that more than twice as many people will vote in November as voted today. It will be an entirely different universe.
Given that, it was amusing to read yesterday an email from Mike Stoker, the Republican candidate in the 19th Senate District race, advising reporters how they should read the results. He suggested the key number will be the combined percentage of vote that he and Democrat Jason Hodge receive vs. the percentage received by Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson. "Low 50s a good night. Mid 50s a great night," Stoker wrote. And high 50s an off the chart night. So there you have it with no spin."
That statement actually has more spin than a Clayton Kershaw curveball. First, it makes a very dubious assumption that all or most of the votes for Hodge would transfer to Stoker in November. If Hodge were to finish second, one could argue that the reverse might be true (Republicans switching in the fall to the more conservative Democrat). But the major problem with that analysis is that it doesn't take into account that there will likely be more new voters in November than voters who participated in the primary.